Parshah Highlights- Chayei Sara

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• We have to learn a lesson from our ancestors. Who is considered a GIBOR CHAIL, a strong soldier? It is one who is able to conquer his weakness and withstand the tests of life (and we had some major test this past two weeks). One such person, who had one enormous test after another, was Avraham, our forefather. He passed the ultimate trial, only to find that evil forces (the Satan) will not give up its quest to ruin spiritual height that was accomplished through those tests. Soon after the angel stopped Avraham from slaughtering his son Yitzchak, Avraham went to grab a ram in sight, only to find it tangled in the bushes. The difficulty in untangling it was purposely done by evil, to derail even a miniscule amount from the good feeling of passing this enormous test. However, it did not work. The Satan felt frustrated because he had failed to achieve victory over either Avraham or Yitzchak, appeared to Sarah and told her that Yitzchak has been brought up as a sacrifice. As a result of hearing such shocking news, Sarah dies. What would one think, being in Avraham’s shoes? “Goodness, I cannot be more perfect then this” and yet the Satan was relentless. How can one deal with difficult situations? There are times when the Satan is harsh with us as well. We must observe Avraham’s attitude, how he coped, and the mindset he had through his tough times and from that, learn how to deal with challenging situations.

• One has to learn how to adjust to new occurrences in life. If one is in the position to deliver the new events, like good or bad news, one has to be very gentile. Humans generally have a hard time adjusting to new environments. The Satan knew this, so unlike how G-d told Avraham to bring his son as a sacrifice in a gentle manner, he told Sarah in a startling tone. Upon hearing the shocking news from the Satan about her son, Sarah could not adjust to that reality and died. It all depends how the news is delivered. One has to give any news, whether good or bad, in a gentle way.

• Corresponding to Sarah’s six screams upon hearing what has happening to her son, we are commanded to blow six tekiyot- uninterrupted shofer sounds-on Rosh Hashana

• A significantly great deal of importance is written about the acquisition of a burial plot which Avraham bought to bury his loved one. Many of our sages are curious, why? The Torah meant to stress the conquest of the land by Avraham specifically by acquiring this burial plot. The law of the land at the time, was that burial, just as birth today, was a sign and symbol of being attached to a specific area. It would be a sign of citizenship which Avraham did not possess until he bought the land. With the undisputed purchase, Avraham acquired rights to the land, not just for himself but for his future descendants.

• King Solomon composed the song of Aishet Chail, describing the praises of the virtuous Woman based on the eulogy Avraham gave for his beloved wife Sarah. This is the song we sing every Friday night before Kiddush. Kiddush is one of the main sources of Shefa Bracha, it’s a blessing for the up-coming week, for a loving wife and peace in the home.

Second Portion

G-d blessed Avraham BAKOL- with everything. We find this terminology in the grace after meal- BAKOL- referring to Avraham, MIKOL- referring to Yitzchak, KOL- referring to Yaakov. BAKOL has the numerical value of BEN-son (52 in numerical science). One of Avraham’s virtue is the ability to pass down the message to his son and continue the tradition which he started. That BAKOL-son was his everything. His wish was fulfilled ” (15:2) What can You give me, seeing that I am childless?

Third Portion

•  There is eighteen times where it mentions camels-GAMAL in the parasha. One reason of importance is that GAMAL sounds like GOMEL; a special bracha which one recites where he was saved by danger. GOMEL LA CHAYAVIM TOVIM SHEA GAMLANI KOL TOV

Rivka was tested by doing GEMELUT CHASADIM kindness that saved her from remaining in her father’s house, which would mean death. We should all try to do a little kindness now and then. It could have an impact on our lives. The eighteen times represents CHAI, life

•  Why did Betuel die? He was a wicked ruler who claimed first rights to every girl in the country who was about to be married. When people heard about Rivka’s betrothal, they were curious how he acts towards his own daughter. If he acts the same like with others, then fine. However if not, then we will kill him and the entire family.

Fourth Portion

The Sages were amazed at how the Torah dwells at such great length on the story of Eliezer. Avraham made a perfect choice in sending him to convince Betuel and his family to give permission to marry Avraham’s son Yitzchak. There are many differences between the actual dialogue between Avraham and Eliezer and what Eliezer actually told over to Rivka’s family. Abarbanel explains these changes were intended in order to gain confidence of Lavan and Betuel. Eliezer understood the mentality of such people and he was able to influence them.

Fifth Portion

This is the source where the man has to go before the lady and not the other way around. Although one might think it is more proper, the Torah disagrees.

Sixth Portion

Avraham dies earlier then what was intended in order not to see Yitschak’s Son Eisav begin to do evil, Eisav was contained to a large extent by the influence of Avraham.

Seventh Portion

Yishmael dies

Credit to: Rabbi Avi Matmon